Evaluate campus safety inclusivity during Pride Month

Evaluate campus safety inclusivity during Pride Month

"Happy Pride Month" - black text with rainbow background.

June is Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer (LGBTQ) Pride Month. Originally designed to commemorate the Stonewall Riots in Manhattan—a tipping point in the Gay Liberation Movement—this month often contains a series of celebrations, educational initiatives, and events designed to bring awareness to the impact the entire LGBTQIA+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer or questioning, intersex, asexual, and more) community has had on the world.

While it is wonderful to set aside time to celebrate the LGBTQIA+ community, ideally inclusiveness, education, and awareness should happen year-round and be intertwined into all of the work and systems that make up a campus community—not just during one month. This means implementing ongoing training for staff and students, integrating inclusive practices into policies and procedures, and fostering a culture of acceptance and support every day. June serves as a timely reminder to review and update campus policies to ensure they are truly inclusive and supportive of the LGBTQIA+ community.

When it comes to achieving truly comprehensive and inclusive campus safety services, it is often all about the small things. Routine processes, like replacing a lost student ID card or responding to a call for a shuttle ride, are the foundational actions that can make or break a student’s trust in campus safety systems intended to support them. Similarly, enacting seemingly minor elements within the Clery Act can have a pronounced ripple effect; ensure that all students feel as though campus safety services are accessible and supportive.

We encourage you to use Clery Act requirements to inform how you build inclusive safety structures on campus. Revisit each of these areas to ensure that they are meeting the needs of all students. For example:

  • Clery Act campus security authorities (CSAs), the individuals required to report under the Clery Act, include all “officials with significant responsibility for student and campus activities.” The Clery Act intentionally includes a wide range of campus professionals because students and employees are likely to disclose crimes to individuals they trust. Individuals who identify as part of the LGBTQIA+ community on campus may be more likely to report to offices with resources for people of all sexualities and gender identities, so it’s important to make sure CSAs are prepared to connect them with the information they need. Just as with all CSAs, ensure that those offices/departments/roles dedicated to supporting the LGBTQIA+ community are equipped with the appropriate support and training to serve in that capacity. It is crucial that CSA training (and campus education in general) be inclusive of the identities represented in your community through the case studies or examples used to explain and process concepts.
  • Institutions report statistics for various types of crime, including hate crimes: offenses that manifest evidence that the victim was selected because of the perpetrator’s bias. Bias categories include race, religion, sexual orientation, gender, ethnicity, national origin, disability, and gender identity. This critical distinction in federal law helps institutions provide a more accurate representation of how hate crimes, including those targeting the LGBTQIA+ community, impact the campus. Since not every CSA may know when an incident is a hate crime, consider whether your CSA training encourages them to share as many details as possible in their reports so that those who classify crimes on your campus can identify and effectively respond to hate crimes.
  • Clery Act prevention requirements for dating violence, domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking (DVSAS) require programming to be culturally relevant and inclusive of diverse communities and identities. Have you asked for feedback from your community? Do your programs resonate with your students and employees? Summer is a great time to research new programs, plan a fall focus group with students and employees, or consider how you might engage students in program and event planning.
  • As required by Clery, institutional policies for DVSAS, as well as a written explanation of these policies given to individuals when they report, provide various resources and options. These documents include information like how to preserve evidence, reporting options, disciplinary procedures, and how the institution maintains the individual’s confidentiality in publicly available information. Can individuals who identify as part of the LGBTQIA+ community on your campus “see” themselves in the examples used in your policy definitions? In the on- and off-campus resources offered? Does the policy use binary (he/she) or more inclusive language? Your policies are often the door through which a person might choose to connect with resources and options on campus. Is that door open to certain individuals on your campus but metaphorically closed to others?

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